Tossing bread crusts to geese or the remains of a sandwich to a raccoon will soon be an offence in any Vancouver park, punishable by a hefty fine.
Vancouver park board commissioners have voted unanimously to amend park bylaws to prohibit the feeding of any wild animal, from pigeons and geese to squirrels, raccoons and coyotes.
The approved proposal calls for a $500 fine for each offence but several commissioners also support a sliding scale that would include higher fines for repeat offences.
Staff will draft a revised bylaw and return it to the board for consideration and final approval at a later date.
Restrictions on feeding wildlife follow more than 40 reports of Stanley Park visitors being nipped or bitten by coyotes that had learned to associate people with food.
Eleven aggressive coyotes have been euthanized in the park since last December.
“This is an important step in deterring people from feeding wildlife both directly or inadvertently in parks,” the board said in a social media post following the Monday night vote.
“Feeding wildlife can make them more aggressive; even feeding small animals increases the amount of prey available for dangerous wildlife.”
—The Canadian Press